It’s no secret that the monsoons are beautiful but dangerous at the same time. The monsoons in Goa last for 4 months, between June and September. During this time, all beach activities, watersports, and even fishing are suspended. This is to avoid any calamities like drowning and capsizing in the sea. Unfortunately, as much as preventive and safety measures are put in place, it doesn’t always work. The latest drowning incident on Calangute beach has proved that. Drishti Marine had just issued a monsoon advisory to the public on not going into the water. But 14 tourists that were possibly unaware still went into the sea. The current got the better of them and 5 people were dragged out while the remaining managed to save themselves.
Strong current spells doom for tourists that enter the sea at Calangute beach
On the heels of the Drishti monsoon advisory, Monday morning was a sad day for 14 tourists from Maharastra. The group arrived from Akola in Maharashtra at around 4 am. They hired a vehicle and drove straight to Goa’s famous Calangute beach and entered the water. The current proved to be too strong for the group and out of the 14, 5 were dragged out to sea. The remaining managed to get to shore safely. On hearing about the incident, Drishti Marine Operations Head P.N Pandey and Sector Head Shashikant Jadhav rushed to Calangute beach and commenced search operations.
There were no lifeguards on duty at that time of the morning. Drishti lifeguards start duty at 07:30 am. Despite the beach being deserted, there are still red flags posted at regular intervals along the shore which signify that there are riptides and a strong current thus making swimming completely off-limits.
Of the 5 people dragged into the sea by the strong current, 3 bodies washed up on shore. 2 bodies are still unaccounted for. The drowning victims’ bodies were taken to the primary health center in Candolim. 3 have been identified as Pritesh Gawali, 32, and Chetan Gawali, 27, and Ujwal Vakode, 26. The 2 missing persons are Kiran Mhaske, 27, and Gajanan Vaidya, 24.
Calangute panchayat vows to crack down on unsavory elements drinking and doing as they please on the beach
This incident is just one of many. The Calangute panchayat is now up in arms over this and other incidents where tourists drink on the beach and do as they please. “We recently formed a special squad along with police personnel to crack down on illegal vendors, hawkers and tourists cooking in public places and creating a nuisance,” sarpanch Anthony Menezes said. “Now, we’re forming a special squad to stop tourists from drinking on the beach and in open spaces. We can’t go on like this. We need to save the lives of tourists. They come here, get drunk and drown, and give Calangute and Goa a bad name.”
Calangute MLA and deputy speaker Michael Lobo also called for drastic measures to prevent such tragedies in the future. “We’ve been talking for years about banning drinking in public, but nothing has actually been done in terms of amending the law,” he said.
“Tourists think they can do whatever they want in Goa. In Calangute, they buy liquor bottles from wholesale shops, open them then and there, and roam about on the beach drinking. This has to stop,” Lobo said.
The Drishti monsoon advisory
Goa’s beaches are extremely beautiful in the monsoons as well. However, they become extremely perilous too due to strong currents and high waves which lash the shore. With the onset of the monsoons this year, Drishti issued an advisory, stating that all the beaches were shut from the 8th of June onwards till September. Drishti lifeguards will continue to map sea conditions and monitor the designated beaches between 7.30am to 6.00pm every day.
Information credit – Drishti Marine/ https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/3-maha-tourists-drown-at-calangute-2-missing/articleshow/64549032.cms